Athlete Insight: Sydney Olson

ATHLETE INSIGHT: SYDNEY OLSON

Due to you know what, the Women of Sydney Parkour WAMJAM event had to be postponed. The good news is special guest Sydney Olson kindly did a short interview with us. Based in the LA area the Tempest Pro Athlete and Stunt Performer is leading the way for Women in Parkour. Having come 1st Place last year in both the Redbull Art of Motion and in the Skill & Style NAPC. She didn’t get to travel to Australia for the event on this occasion, but you can get to know her a little more here.

Stephania Zitis and Anna Yamashita were set to host the event in Sydney. Although the event was open to anyone the idea behind it was to create options for women to further integrate into the sport by creating a space to practice and be inspired. 

We look forward to seeing what they create in the future.

 

 

 

Sydney

Sydney Olson:

 

What was it about parkour/freerunning that attracted you it?

From age 7-14 I was a competitive gymnast. When I first started that, I loved the challenge of learning flips. I would even learn them on the grass outside my house. But as gymnastics got more serious, my coaches became very rigid and I wasn’t able to explore movement the way I wanted to. My creativity was taken away and so was my love for the sport. I quit and basically stopped exercising altogether. Eventually I went on to coach gymnastics and at age 17, I met a few guys that trained parkour. This instantly interested me because my inner child was able to come out and experience movement the way I did before. I was challenged to learn new ways to move the way I wanted to, on my own time, and with my own mind. At first I was injured a lot because I was pretty out of shape, but once I got the hang of things, I was able to develop strength that I never had before then.

  

What has been a highlight in your career so far?

My biggest highlight is anytime I realize that I’m doing this for a living. Before I became pro, I was a nursing assistant. I worked over 50 hours per week giving so much of myself to patients and would train outside of that, which was exhausting. But I realized that parkour and freerunning was truly my passion and wanted to give that everything I could. I lived in Seattle at the time, and I got my first job freerunning for a music video in LA. After I worked on set for that day, I quit my job in Seattle and moved to LA a month later. It was a really big struggle to get to where I am now, but I am so very grateful to be doing this today and wouldn’t trade those hardships for anything. I think my biggest advice for people trying to pursue this would be to learn patience and be willing to commit 100 percent to it.

 

What are your thoughts on Women in Parkour/Freerunning?

Recently I’ve been so excited about the increasing number of women training parkour/freerunning. When I first started, there was Luci Romberg that I had to look up to and that was it. They just weren’t around. For me personally, this held me back in a way. I had it in my head that I’d just never be as good as the guys and so I just wouldn’t even try very hard. But eventually I had a shift in mindset and just thought “I bet I could do so much better” and have been trying to continue that journey ever since. Now that there are women involved proving over and over that we are badass, I feel like more are likely to join and that cycle continues.

 

What mindset do you take into your training and practice?

My mindset in training has shifted quite a bit recently. I used to be scared of being stagnant and wasn’t happy unless I was constantly progressing, which definitely helped me get good. But then it started to hold me back emotionally outside of training. In November, I hit my head really hard and got a gnarly concussion (my third serious one) and an awesome scar on my forehead. I took some time to focus on my health and heal, but then quickly tried to get back to where I was. A month later I got into a bad car accident and all my concussion symptoms plus whiplash came back. After I was finally feeling like myself again, I realized that there was a lesson to be learned there. I needed to be more patient with myself and fully appreciate where I’m at. So now that I’m feeling 100 percent, I try to practice mindfulness every single day. I just feel so grateful to be training at all really! When it comes to fear or overcoming a challenge, my advice would be to analyze the situation and see if there are extra progressions you can use to feel more prepared.

 

What are you excited about for 2020?

This year will be very interesting as it’s shown to be super unpredictable with the Coronavirus and such. I hope to get to compete again at NAPC and Red Bull AOM. A TV show I worked on as a recurring character is supposed to come out in May. But overall plans are just to continue working and training and see what comes of it. 

 

 

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